Before I launch into today's post, I wanted to point out the new look of the blog. If you go visit my website, you can see that they match-LOL ;) (by the way, a not so subtle point being made that I NOW have a website!)
I'm very excited about the new look and am extremely grateful to Rae Monet Designs for the awesomeness!
Ok, on to the post :)
Characters always have to have something to push against, something or someone who is stopping them from their goals or creating the problem they feel they need to rally against. For my genres those antagonists are usually Villains. Aka in Buffy-speak "big bads".
Villains can range from Cardinal Richelieu of The Musketeers (BBC TV show- my newest obsession ;))- he's evil, completely bent on ruling the world, and yet is out in the open. Everyone except for the king, know he's an evil man (they just may not realize how evil ;)). Yet because of the circumstance, they can't do anything to complete stop him and at many times have to work alongside him and even save his life. He is an awesome villain.
This is the up close villain in my book- he/she is RIGHT there, a constant aspect of the protagonist's life. These are often hidden ones, where they come on as a good person, but the reader finds out they aren't--eventually so does the character. Sometimes these don't work however, as they need a fine balancing act as to why the character isn't catching on. Like romances where the thing keeping a couple apart is made out of bad misunderstandings, this can fall flat. But when done right, amazing.
Now the up close villain won't always work- especially in my genre (they are great for political intrigue though!). So, at the other end we had the shadow villain. These beings are rarely seen except through the destruction their minions cause. A powerful force moving behind the scenes to turn the world--or at least their corner of it--in their own favorite hell. Sauron from Lord of The Rings would be the classic example of this one. He doesn't even have a body! Yet his power and influence is strong and the destruction he causes through others is massive.
I'd say those are the two extremes on villains, and I know there are many more. But all villains think they are the hero of their story, they can't be bad just to be bad (unless they are a sociopath and those are quite different in my book ;)).
So what about you? Who are the big bads you write? When reading or watching tv or movies- who do you love to hate, or just hate?